Thursday, July 12, 2007

Training without Kettlebells

One of the most commonly asked questions from my students and clients is "What do I do if I have to travel, and there are no kettlebells where I'm going?"

People have tried all sorts of things to take the place of their beloved kettlebells. You name it, I've heard of it... swinging dumbbells, using water jugs, swinging their kids, filling their duffle bags with sand, etc., etc., etc..... Seems like I've heard of everything but swinging around major appliances.

Let's put the question to rest once and for all.

There is NO substitute for a kettlebell, folks. No other configuration of weight and structure will train your body in the same way as a kettlebell. While standard weights may be a decent way of doing resistance training, it's certainly not the same because of the off-centered balance of a kettlebell.

So instead of trying to train your body in the SAME way, using the SAME exercises as you would with a kettlebell, do something slightly DIFFERENT instead.

Will it give you a tremendous systemic workout? Heck, yeah!
Will it use similar principles as the RKC's Hard Style kettlebell training? Heck, yeah!
Will it strengthen your "core"? Heck, yeah!
Will it help rehabilitate injuries or pre-hab your body to prevent injury? Heck, yeah!

To me, there are 3 main exercises that I like to do, and 2 of them are straight out of Pavel Tsatsouline's manual, The Naked Warrior. I chose these 3 exercises to suit my own personal needs and biases (e.g., I hate running, I don't like pushups, etc.). They are:
1. Tactical Pullup
2. Pistol
3. Naked Get-Up

The Naked Get-Up is my own modification of the Turkish Get-Up, and I'll be posting more about that in the coming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Now if you're thinking, "Good grief, I can't even do a full pullup!!!", don't sweat. All of these exercises can be modified such that ANYONE can benefit from them.

For example, sometimes I like to just work on engaging my lats, so instead of doing a full pullup, sometimes I'll keep my elbows locked out and just work on firing my lats. Next, I'll work on doing the Hard Style breathing with the glute clench at the same time as I fire my lats, working on "shortening" my spine and shoving my shoulder blades down into my back pocket.

More on the pullup progression and the pistol progression coming!

And if you're in the LA area, please check out for information on our Sunday beach class and monthly workshops at the Inosanto Academy!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Independence Day

A lot's been said already on so many different fronts to thank the armed forces personnel who put their lives & safety on the line for us. Screw the talk... here's the action.

For any US armed forces veteran who comes to train with Kettlebells Los Angeles's Sunday beach class, you will train for the month of July as my honored guests.

For any first responders, you will also train as my guests for the month of July.

For any active duty personnel, you are also welcome to train as my guests for the month of July.
I ask only that you show any of the instructional staff some identification or discharge papers, so that we may properly honor you.

America owes you. Kettlebells Los Angeles would like to do a little something to pay you back.

With respect & gratitude,
Dr. Mark Cheng, RKC II